Page 115 of Scott Persons book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal, and Other Woodland medicinals I think you will see that the problem is Alternaria blight. It is caused by a fungus and spread by spores. By the look of your bed, you are growing many plants in close proximity to one another, as in Woods cultivated. If you are, you will need to invest in a back pack sprayer and some fungicides and adopt a regular regime of spraying over the course of your crop's life. Probably every week! Why are watering? Are things really that dry? Moisture will provide fungus with the ideal environment to thrive. You should maybe get the book.
I would be interested in knowing how long you have had this problem and how bad the infection has become. Is it killing the plants?
If it is what I am guessing, it can spread quickly effecting your other plants. It usually does not harm the root. However, it hangs around in other dead litter on the forest floor and when conditions are right (Hot humid and moist), it will emerge the next year and subsequent years. If it effects plants that are too young or weak to set a bud for the following year, it can kill the plant. Good luck.
I agree w/ diesel's diagnosis. Though I'm not a sang expert, I do own an apple orchard. To cut dowwn on various fungi you need to have good airflow and not have things crowded. You may be able to talk to someone at your local extension service for advise (local university) to diagnose and help understand the life cycle to disrupt it. Most likely moisture is not helping. You may also find out how and where the accuspores develope and be able to cut down on those areas.
Thanks for your help I have the book ordered!! No its not killing any more plants except these.When I get the book and find out what fungicide to get I have a sprayer standing by.Yes it is pretty dry here I don't really know how much to or not to water I'm trying to match the soil where it just grows naturally.Not very scientific but thats what I have.Do you think that I can trans plant these now to thin them out, is it to early? Thanks again for the help!!!!!!!
I would not try to transplant now as that might further stress the plant. There is a real good chance you would just transplant the fungus anyway, right along with the plant. The fall would be better, after the berries are off.
Maya had some good input there to find some help from someone at a nearby university. Here is an email for someone that works with Penn State university. He is very knowledgeable regarding ginseng. He is now head of Shavers Creek Environmental center and Wildlife refuge. He may know someone in your area who is his counterpart for a university near you. If you email him the photos, he may be able to confirm or give you better advise then I was able to. He is Eric Burkhart and he can be reached at Eric Burkhart .
Please understand, I am giving out his address for you to help you out. I would hope and do believe all those on here would respect the fact that Eric is a busy guy.He has helped me out with a lot of info in the past.
I agree that it is probably alternaria blight.I spray with maneb and bordeaux mix.They are contact poison to fungus.Be sure to spray the underneath of the plants too.You can rake the mulch off your beds this fall after the plants die down and replace it with new mulch to help keep the disease from returning next year.[the spores are probably on the mulch] Hope this helps,Good luck
Thank ya'll for the quick and accurate assessment of my problem with a solution,and a contact to fix the mess I made.Is there any thing wrong with using hay or straw as a mulch since in the fall I will remove all the mulch from this bed!!!!!! Thanks again for the support!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes that is jack-n-the-pulpit and it is the only one I have unfortunately something walked across this patch and smashed the stem on it and knocked the ginseng over!!!I sprayed with the fungus spray that southern states recommended copper something..Do you think it will take a long time for this to work, do you think that this will kill the seed bud? Thanks again for the help